have been following Savatage intensively ever since their brilliant
'Power of the Night' album, so it was with great sadness that I read the
news earlier on this year, that Savatage would only be performing a few
live shows later on this year before the band would cease to exist! This
is off course the logical consequence of the well deserved success of
thankfully we do still have Jon Oliva's Pain to keep the flame burning,
and with 'Maniacal Renderings' he delivers an album filled with songs
that brings back a lot of fond memories of old school Savatage - here I
am talking about the period from 1987 - 1991, which I my opinion marks
the pinnacle of Savatage's career with the releases of 'Hall of the
Mountain King', 'Gutter Ballet' and more than anything else 'Streets - A
Rock Opera' - to this date still my favorite Savatage album.
a lot of the songs could easily go down as follow ups to songs from
exactly that period, like the opener "Through the Eyes of the
King" (to "Hall of the Mountain King"), "The Answer"
(to "When the Crowds are Gone") or "Push it to the
Limit" (a more modern sounding follow up to "White Witch").
The bombastic songs are also represented - just take a listen to the
title track or "Playing God". "End Times" brings
back memories of 'Streets' - another cool tune. Even the sound - the
album was recorded at Audio Lab Studios in Tampa, Florida - has a lot in common
with old school Savatage.
no one knows how to incorporate the piano into power metal quite as cool
as Jon Oliva, and the album has plenty of examples of just that! This is
an album every Savatage fan will love, and now the future looks a lot
brighter for us Savatage fans... I for one couldn't be happier, because
this album exceeds my expectations and is even better than the first Jon
Oliva's Pain album!
A funny side note: The next generation of Oliva's can
be heard on the limited editions: Tony Oliva (12 String Guitar), Anthony
Oliva (Bass), Christopher J. Oliva (Acoustic Guitar) on "Reality's
Fool" - the bonus song on the digipack issue. Christopher J. Oliva
is handling the lead guitar on "Only You" - the bonus song for
the special Tincase issue.